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Too selfish or not too selfish?

I’ve been wrestling with my internal dialogue on whether or not I’m a kind person. Like most people, I’d like to think of myself as a kind, caring, and compassionate person, but sometimes I wonder if this is a nature/nurture state of being? Like what if I’m really a not-so-kind person and I only behave kindness. Or am I really a kind person at heart and exhibit not-so-kind behavior?

Recently, I realized that I tend to check out of conversations I’m having with people. It occurred to me when I was sitting at a bar and this guy mentioned that I had gone silent, and I quickly told him that I was just listening and processing…only I wasn’t. I got preoccupied with my own internal dialogue and had completely tuned him out.

I now believe that this wasn’t a one time occurrence, and that when I do get bored with people, I literally just tune into a separate conversation in my own head. While I can say it’s a plus to be self-aware of this behavior, it’s definitely a minus in that it’s rather selfish. I mean, I don’t want to go around life being more interested in my own thoughts than the thoughts of people gracious enough to communicate with me. But how does one change this behavior and maintain focus and presence in a situation that’s not very engaging?

I’m actually not sure at all, but I’m making a conscious effort to choose respect, presence, and kindness in my daily interactions. I find that starting with these intentions begets patience and an attentiveness that I don’t always have at the ready. It’s also been said that being selfish isn’t as terrible as it sounds because until you’re full of (and with) yourself, how can you have anything to offer to anyone else? So I guess it’s all about checking in with yourself first, and then offering your time and attention to others.

 

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